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Wickford Scouts History

This history has been put together from a number of sources including Essex County Scout Council and Gilwell Park.

According to an archive photo's book of Wickford, Scouting arrived in the town in 1914, although the Group is not named, and may only have been a group of young people meeting on an ad-hoc basis. The first documented evidence of 1st Wickford is from the Essex County Scout archives, which commence in 1919, when the County was formed. These comprise of "year books" in which each district gave a brief report of what went on.

According to these archives a 1st Runwell and Wickford was reported to be meeting at the Runwell rectory in 1923, led by A C Bruginar and ASM E C Bearman with 15 scouts. There was also a cub pack at the Rectory comprising 13 members under Miss K Burton and Miss L Browning. In 1924 the troop went into abeyance due to no leader, but with 7 Scouts, the cubs were still running. The Troop re-started in 1925 as 1st Wickford at the Mission Hall London Road. The following year the Troop camped successfully at Heybridge. Both Pack and Troop grew and by 1929 the Pack had 54 members and the Troop 20 under the GSM J Whitehead.

In 1930 the Troop won the District Shield, and the Pack won the Cub District Shield for the second year running. In 1931 the GSM was F Sorrell, a team from the Troop won 1st place in Section 1 of the County Marathon. The last mention of the Group in the year books was in 1936, when it was noted that the Troop had closed due to a lack of leaders.

The next confirmed details of the Group are when we were registered with HQ, on 15th September 1947, so depending on what records you go from the group is 60, 84 or 93 years old.

In the 1980's the group had close contact with a Dutch Scout Group (Wewekabo Westdorpe) culminating in a formal twinning in 1986, an event marked by a joint camp. The Groups scarf badge commemorates this camp with two intertwined w's and a campfire with the year set into the flames. As Wewekabo is a small town numbers in the group fluctuate and at present there is no close contact with the group.

The group has had a number of meeting places over the years, including the old Methodist Church in Lower Southend Road. This had to be vacated as the traffic on the bypass caused structural damage to the building. From here the Group moved into Christ Church, at which time they had 4 cub packs (Pegasus, Chiron, Trojan and Unicorn), a scout troop (Pioneer 1) and a Venture unit (Voyager 4). Fund raising started to enable the Group to build it's own HQ, which it succeeded in doing in 1988. The Group by then had added 2 beaver colonies (Oak and Ash) to its sections.

In line with national trends numbers dropped and Ash beavers, Chiron and Pegasus cubs closed. The venture unit closed a few years before the national demise of such units. In 2003 5th Wickford's GSL/SL left, leaving the group short of leaders, and as they were meeting in a hall that was not particularly suitable the Beavers and Cubs started to use our HQ. Trojan and 5th's cub pack meeting on a Tuesday together. At the 2004 St Georges day parade 5th Wickford's cubs and scouts were presented with a red 1st Wickford scarf, returning from the renewal of promise service as members of 1st Wickford. At the time of the Centenary camp the Group has two beaver colonies (Oak and Lilliput), two cub packs (Trojan and Unicorn) and one Scout troop (Pioneer 1).

Scouting History

A fuller history of scouting is availble via ScoutBaseUK (support and resources)

The below is taken from Wikipedia.

Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so that they may play constructive roles in society.

Scouting began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army, held the first Scouting encampment at Brownsea Island in England. Baden-Powell wrote the principles of Scouting in Scouting for Boys (London, 1908), based on his earlier military books, with influence and support of Frederick Russell Burnham (Chief of Scouts in British Africa), Ernest Thompson Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, William Alexander Smith of the Boys' Brigade, and his publisher Pearson. During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups each for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).

The movement employs the Scout method, a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. Another widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country and making for equality, with neckerchief and campaign hat or comparable headwear. Distinctive uniform insignia include the fleur-de-lis and the trefoil, as well as merit badges and other patches.

In 2007, Scouting and Guiding together had over 38 million members in 216 countries. The two largest umbrella organizations are the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations, and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations. That year marked the centenary of Scouting world wide, and member organizations planned events to celebrate the occasion.